The Backstreet Boys have postponed the next month of their Black & Blue world tour to allow the group's A.J. McLean to get treatment for alcohol abuse, depression and anxiety.
The other four members of the group told MTV News on Monday (July 9) that they will postpone all dates of their tour until an August 7 show in Vancouver, British Columbia. In the meantime, McLean will seek help at an unspecified rehabilitation center, according to the group, who shared McLean's plight with tearful fans on "TRL" Monday afternoon.
"[A.J.] came to us yesterday and said, 'Guys, I need help,'" group member Brian Littrell told MTV News. "I looked at him in the eyes and said, 'I'm proud of you.' That's the first time he said it to any of us: 'Guys, I have a problem, and I wanna better myself and better the group and better our situation.' "
The group's rescheduled dates are expected to run from September 4 at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York, to September 28 at Skyreach Centre in Edmonton, Alberta.
But the Backstreet Boys said they contemplated postponing tour dates as early as opening night in Orlando on June 8 (see "Backstreet Boys Show Fan Love To Orlando Crowd").
"We approached [A.J.] in Orlando when we felt it was going to influence the tour," Nick Carter said. "I was worried about him vocally, I was worried about him physically. He has a lot of duties when it comes to performing. We wanted the fans to get the best show possible."
Early Monday afternoon, before the group announced McLean's treatment plans, a publicist for the Backstreet Boys told the Associated Press that they were canceling the remainder of their five-show run in Boston because Carter injured his right hand. The group was scheduled to play in Boston's FleetCenter Monday night.
That cancellation gave McLean a chance to reflect on his situation and tell his bandmates he couldn't continue with the tour, BSB's Howie Dorough said.
Carter, who wore a brace on his right hand on Monday, was distraught during an MTV News interview just before the group's "TRL" appearance.
In a tear-choked voice, Carter said he expected McLean to overcome his problems.
"I think he's going to do it. I do," he said. "I don't think there is an end to this group until one of us dies."
But Dorough said that the Backstreet Boys could continue without McLean, at least temporarily, if his problems continue.
"We're betting on A.J. to come back. We want him to, because we don't feel that the Backstreet Boys are the Backstreet Boys without A.J. ... [But] if he needs more time if we have to possibly revisit the idea of continuing on tour and us kind of covering for him, we might have to do that at that time," Dorough said. "His life, his health is more important than this."
McLean's problems had been affecting his performances, his bandmates said.
"We're a little more critical [than the fans]," Carter said. "We remember how his voice used to sound when he got his rest."
"It was affecting his show," Littrell added. "It took him awhile to be man enough, to come to us and say, 'Listen guys, I have a problem that I need to take care of.' It was important to us as a group to catch it now because we're worried about his safety and his wellbeing. You could hear a horror story on the news about something he'd done, and we didn't want to take that chance. We didn't want to allow him that opportunity."
Counselors came on tour with the group to help McLean, but he continued his behavior, according to his bandmates.
"We would have some dinner and maybe have a few cocktails at dinner. ... It would be late, and after that he would go off on his own," Kevin Richardson said. "He didn't just want to go back to the room and go to bed. He wanted to continue. He was becoming a vampire."
McLean was deeply affected by the recent death of his grandmother, according to his bandmates, who attributed some of his problems to that loss.
Rescheduled Backstreet Boys tour dates:
- 9/4 - Uniondale, NY @ Nassau Coliseum
- 9/6 - East Rutherford, NJ @ Continental Airlines Arena
- 9/7 - East Rutherford, NJ @ Continental Airlines Arena
- 9/8 - Boston, MA @ FleetCenter
- 9/9 - Boston, MA @ FleetCenter
- 9/10 - Boston, MA @ FleetCenter
- 9/12 - Toronto, ON @ Air Canada Center
- 9/13 - Toronto, ON @ Air Canada Center
- 9/14 - Toronto, ON @ Air Canada Center
- 9/15 - Ottawa, ON @ Corel Center
- 9/17 - Montreal, QC @ Molson Center
- 9/18 - Buffalo, NY @ HSBC Arena
- 9/19 - Cleveland, OH @ Gund Arena
- 9/20 - Detroit, MI @ The Palace
- 9/22 - Chicago, IL @ Tweeter Center
- 9/23 - Minneapolis, MN @ Target Center
- 9/26 - Calgary, AB @ Saddledome
- 9/27 - Calgary, AB @ Saddledome
- 9/28 - Edmonton, AB @ Skyreach Centre
(This report was updated at 8:34 p.m. ET Monday, July 9, 2001.)
What's your reaction to the Backstreet Boys' announcement?
Can the Backstreet Boys Survive A.J.'s Rehab Time-Out? Vote here.